PHD #385: Headhunting
Summary: Leyla attempts to hire the ChEng away from Engineering. It's for a good cause. Honest!
Date: 18 Mar 2042 AE
Related Logs: Enter the Swarm XIII: Unwelcome Returns and Pressure Points -- Air Wing.
Leyla Mark 
Flight Simulation
A training room specifically dedicated to honing aerial skills, this area is equipped with several flight simulator pods that allow the pilots to practice maneuvers and tactics without being in a real live plane. The Viper-pods are installed on one side of the room with a little space between them, an attempt to provide a realistic feel for close-range wing training, while a smaller number of Raptor sim-pods are installed on the opposite side of the room from the Vipers. A central computer terminal and overhead display screen sits at the head of the room, where one can input exercises and data to be run in the sims, scroll through score records, and control the training modules.
Post-Holocaust Day: #385

Some days are all work and no play. Like today. Like the sims, like the pilot who's been sitting doing data entry for the last few hours since she got off alert status. Flight suit is still on, though the top is opened up and tied around her waist, keeping it out of the way and her person mostly comfortable. The tank top she usually wears underneath is covered up by an oversized duty green shirt, from which the name patch has been removed, replaced with her own, and it's missing rank pins. A full case of flash drives sits to her right hand side, each entered, cataloged and replaced. Most of the sims are still free for training, but lacking the necessary free space in the ready room as well as the map room, this is the best she could do. An occasional glance to the timeclock, before she continues working, loading camera and recon data into the sim standing in for her raptor.

Mark saunters in looking..clean. Given his shifts the past few days he's probably just coming off a long night and morning. "I heard there was a beautiful young lady ghosting around these parts. Had to come check her out to see for myself." He waggles his brow at her with a big smile as he walks on up to the computer consoles in his duty greens - minus the overshirt. "Been busy, looks like."

"Ghost might be right, I'm not sure about the beautiful, or the young anymore. This has sucked the life right out of me. if, however, you were not looking for me, I think Cameo fits that description, but she's already left to head down for her CAP rotation." Leyla answers, without turning around, finishing off the last of the line of code to work into the system for the odd sort of 'simulation', before she turns around. Just in time to see Mark approach. Or rather, just as he gets to the consoles. "Tahu." Slowly, but surely, Leyla's been working a bit more Taurian into Mark's language skillset. Her hand settles, lightly, on his chest, "I'd like to hire you." Yes, she's been busy. Yes, she's shrugging off and handing over the half of Mark's uniform he's missing.

He can't help smiling at the Taurian. Most of his attempts haven't been the best but he's been trying to look things up. There's even a 'Taurian for Dummies' in the bunk. "Well if that's your opinion, Lady Leyla, then your opinion doesn't count. Only mine. I haven't got much interest in the rest of the wing. Except Marko. But dang." Mark snaps his fingers. "Heard the guy is already hitched. Looks like you're stuck with me." He winks at her and begins retucking the shirt around her shoulders. "When I do finally get this back I'd prefer it smell like you as much as possible. Keep wearin' it." His grin turns to a warmer smile as he bends to kiss her forehead and then take up a chair. "Oh yeah? Hire me? I'm pretty sure we can work out a deal. Let's hear the pitch before a price is discussed." He scoots the chair closer.

"I know, right? I'm surprised someone hasn't tried to kneecap Lunair in her sleep. He's very popular. Even if he was single, there'd be a line, I'm telling you." Hands join his in settling the shirt back on, "You could always diet and wear mine, then I wouldn't have to borrow yours." Logical. And also businesslike, once Mark settles into the chair, "What I need, is a ship. Large, very large. Say…four times the size of a battlestar. And it needs to be able to fool our DRADIS, not only to think it's not actually where it is, but to be able to manipulate our DRADIS into reading ghost signatures without the use of swallows. I've got a few mockups you can look at, but I need more of a whole system sort of thing. And I hear…that shipbuilding and design is sort of your specialty."

Mark limpwrists with a smirk but goes back to straightening her collar before he goes back to sitting idly. "I could wear your shirt and explode a few buttons. It would look like a bra on me. Seriously." He chuckles and as she gets into the mean of it his head dips forward to look towards the ground between them. His hands clasp, listening. "That is a big sunuvabitch. Well, it would have to be a dedicated ECM boat like one of our old electronic warfare vessels." He takes a breath. "You're looking at massive power output across the EM spectrum and some capability to- Hmm, no. No swallows or any kind of physical appearance at the projected location. Okay: That means you're doing one of two things: First, you are direct hacking our DRADIS system somehow. Second, you are running an old electronic warfare trick. When you overpower the hell out of an active system like a DRADIS then it goes haywire. Its like using a firehose to combat a campfire. Nobody really uses it anymore because sometimes swapping to passive sensors will pick up the precise location of the EM source. Anything putting out that kind of energy would have to be detectable very quickly in a passive mode. The power requirements alone would be.. vast."

"Here's the trick though, it isn't overpowering our DRADIS, not that we can tell anyway, so it would be like the hose being invisible…mostly." A shake of her head, as Leyla turns, sliding the data case over towards the ChEng, "See, this is how my mind is working. When I don't understand how something works, I see if I can focus on its effects and reverse engineer a cause from there." Leyla keys up the screen for the sim, the one that would usually show flight imagery. This time, it shows a basestar. Which looks very much like every other basestar. "Meet your ghost ship. This is the final product, I need you to work out the steps." Leyla looks back to the man sitting close to her side, "I can fly ships and fix ships and rescue ships. But I can't build them. You do, so…based on effects, I need to know everything you can deduce about how this ship was build, how it functions on our DRADIS and more importantly, how we can defeat whatever it is it's doing." Leyla holds up a hand, "I am aware that you are not fully conversant on our ECM system and you might need someone to interpret the data coming in from our suites. Flasher will be coming to find you later today."

"Anything putting out enough electromagnetic firepower to ghost something that size and make itself invisible is going to be browbeating the hell out of our systems. Now, if its putting out enough of it, it will just ruin the DRADIS. Meaning, you'll be looking at a completely invisible source when it comes to electronics." Mark finally looks back up to her. "That's exactly how engineers solve problems. Work backwards from the problem or requirement and look at whats available. Its a good way to think of things." Mark's eyes then turn up to the basestar. Nothing immediately jumps out at him. "Well I worked on Raptors systems..twenty years ago. But no, I was never as up to snuff as one of your people would be. Not even close. But lemme ask you something specific: Is the ship showing up on DRADIS at the exact same location for every single ship? Or does it vary in some small way?"

"And yet it doesn't stop us from reading other ships on that DRADIS, colonial or cylon." Leyla turns back to look at the ship. "Flasher's good at interpretation, it won't take him long to get you up to speed, hell, he'll probably write you an interpretive program while he's with you." Which is one of the reasons everyone seems to want a piece of her ECO. "But I don't think this is a problem the wing can solve on its own. Because we also need to figure out how to foolproof our systems." A thoughtful expression, "I'm still reviewing the information myself, but the ghost signatures seem random, and they're really ghosts. They're not flashing lights that say basestar here. It's just…something there but we can't tell what. And being inside this system doesn't help either. But from what I recall of reading the communication logs from out first encounter with a basestar like this, the pilots were looking right at it and it was not showing up on DRADIS."

Mark gives her a skeptical look, but not one that screams 'You're an idiot'. Just disbelief. "That should not be possible from any rational perspective. Not even close. Like, not even at all. Directed energy jamming can be done against specific targets - like how an ECO might try to jam a SAM site or a guidance system. But it fries their systems. That's how it works. Nobody should be seeing much of anything except for the picture of the baseship - if even that." Mark settles back in the chair and looks back at the screen. "Yeah, that's sophisticated electronic warfare capabilities. Projecting one single image of a basestar to a singular location in three dimensional space onto our systems?" A look back to her. "Do you guys use wireless link systems on the Raptors as remote feeds for long range DRADIS pictures? Like, show what you see to the Vipers and the Cerberus?"

"That's why we need to figure out exactly how it is that they're blocking us from seeing them. I know how it sounds, but I also know what we're seeing with our own eyes. Shortie and I got a ghost, so did Boots and Bunny, we went to see what we could find at the location we were recording, and it was just there, sending out massive ECM bursts, as if it was recording us, or sending a signal in our direction, but it didn't seem to have any sort of effect on us. We had no trouble picking out the raider contacts, or the fleet. Just the basestar." A shake of her head to the last, "No, we see what we see, we've got to download the information later. I know the ECM system on the Areion raptors are networked together, they've been trying to modify some of our raptors to do the same thing, but that's not normally how we operate." Clearly, the woman is more than frustrated at this turn of events.

"My first suggestion would be to employ the Areion's Raptors. My tactical acumen is that of a Twinkie, but from a scientific approach, if you have jamming that bad, link the Raptors together. Overlay the picture of where the ghost ship is. You should be able to triangulate a precise position of the actual basestar if you have more than, say, 3 or 4 Raptors? Six would be ideal, probably." Mark scoots closer to the console to look the ship over with squinted eyes. "You said this thing is also putting out random noise? What kind?"

"Let me bring that up. We've got it all recorded." Leyla shifts, to make room for Mark next to her at the console, though she routes most of the information through the larger sim screen for easy reading. "To tell you the truth, I can't make heads nor tails of it either. Maybe between the two of you, you and Flasher can figure something out." The data, whatever it is the basestar is sending out, well, it's not anything that they've been able to interpret, but it does almost have the feel of being scanned, like they do with active ECM, though towards the end, there are a few bursts sent specifically to the three raiders which were the only raiders in the entire swarm launched from the basestar itself. "I'll pass your suggestion on to Toast. I don't know how many raptors they'll be able to ship over here for us to use, and I don't know how quickly we can get the raptors upgraded here."

Mark just grunts at her comment about him and Marko figuring this out. He's at work right now and thinking hard. "Get the Raptors, Leyla. Seriously. Give it a shot and see what happens. That should work. If you can give our targeting computers a center of mass for it, I know the Praetorian could just ripple fire missiles into that space. Or hell, put a nuke on a Raptor and jump it into the center of the baseship. Kablooey." He then turns slowly back towards Leyla with a quirked brow. "You said the pilots can actually see this thing? The real target? That means a visual guidance package on a missile can see it, too. Something like the Hammerfall." He flashes a quick smile. "So after this basestar transmits to the Raiders, what do they do? Disengage? Nothing? Keep attacking? Shift fire to a different target?"

"Getting raptors is one thing, but how do you scan for something you can't see? This time we saw it on DRADIS, and I have to believe that was because of the interference from Audumla. But over tauron, it never showed up on DRADIS, at all. Unless I missed something in the logs." There's pause, at the suggestion of the raptor, "You do realize that jumping a raptor into the center of a basestar is asking two people to commit suicide, don't you?"her voice is soft, not angry just…quiet. But she seems to think better of walking down that road, "They kept attacking, until we destroyed two of them and the last jumped away after the basestar did. We did register it's FTL spinning up."

"Its not too bad, actually. Its easier to explain to an ECO but think about it like rocks sticking out from a pond. When you toss a pebble in, it creates ripples. With the known consistency and speed of the water, and precise times at which the ripples hit the jutting rocks, you can determine an exact location of where the pebble was thrown in. The more rocks you have, the more detailed you can be with the location." Mark shakes head at the idea of suicide. "Hell no. You know me, I'm not about to suggest you guys or anyone kill themselves. Never. But the Raptors should be able to be configured to jump at a specific time. If Deck could override the actual pilot-computer interconnect? It jumps and the only passenger is a big boom." To the rest he takes a long breath and looks at the scrolling information once more. "Freaking weird. No change in behavior. But its sending them something. But Audumbla? This E-W ship showed up on DRADIS? You're positive its the same ship? I mean, there is no doubt at all that its at least the same class and trying the same trick?" This seems to be key information.

"At Tauron there were no ripples. The basestar was registering visually only. If we have ghost signals, then your system of linking the input from multiple raptors would work, but you need at least a ghost signature to start with." This seems to be the main frustration for the woman. Outside of Audumbla, it's a complete DRADIS zero. "We're not positive it's the same ship, that's why we're looking over this information now. Comparing it and its transmissions all the way back to the signals that shut down the fleet on Warday. Older ships, like the Mark IIs were unaffected, so they have more footage and information than the rest. "We suspect it is the same ship, because it's acting in the same way and showing up the same way, or more to the point, not showing up, the same as over Tauron. No other basestar before these two encounters has caused us these problems or exhibited this behavior."

"Wait, this thing will go stealth without even producing any emitted signals? Like, none at all? Its dead in the water and not showing up?" Mark is clearly interested, wanting to know the details now. "I'm not mad at you, babe, but in an overall? Why the hell is the ship's Chief Engineer - someone who used to design ships - just hearing about this now?" Its deadpanned. Not impressed with the Wing. "Okay, so we think these are the EM-class ships that the Cylons are using and did use to knock down the fleet via the CNP. And these things can't do jack inside Audumbla's radiation. And we also think this radiation adversely effects the humanoid Cylons and their capabilities to operate. Given those two points, my lovely fledgling Engineer, what exactly does that tell you. Work the problem for me."

"Tahu, I'm only a pilot. I had no way of knowing they didn't send you the information on the ship above Tauron before now. All I know is this. When the fleet was attacked above Tauron, there was a basestar that we could only see by visual means. It did not show up on DRADIS. At all. During this last attack, we got ghost signals on DRADIS. Shortbus and I went to investigate the one we saw on ours, and we found this basestar, which still was not reading as a basestar on our systems. It appeared to be radiating some sort of ECM signal in our direction, but it had no effect on our systems. We are trying to figure out if these two systems are the same. These two ships are the same, and we're trying to piece together the signal it was sending. We know we have records of the signals that all of the cylons were transmitting on Warday, at least that we were close enough to record. We're waiting to see if we can find some sort of correlation." Leyla shakes her head, reaching out to twist and fidget with the edge of Mark's tank top, working it like she might a worry bead, "if this were science fiction, it would tell me that we should try to find a way to replicate the radiation from Audumbla. The Gun does something like that, when it fires, it disables all close cylon targets. Mostly."

"I know, babe. It's just a little disconcerting." Mark shakes his head but continues listening without further comment. After a few seconds of fidgeting he smiles once more and reaches to take her hand. He kisses it and holds onto it with both hands. "Okay, this is all good information. I'll have to dig into our archives and see what I can pick out. But it sounds like we should be looking at some sort of radiation that can mask a signature. Something that the Cylons have. Damned shame we don't have a prisoner anymore. I'd love to have a chat with one right about now." He sighs. "So the Areion's gun doesn't take out everything? I thought it would. What doesn't it effect?"

"How do you think I feel? I'm out there and I can't even trust my instruments anymore. All I have are my eyes, which a pilot is supposed to trust, only I can't see in 360 degrees." So she can't protect what and whom she's supposed to be protecting. As her hand is caught, it settles, and then her free hand goes to cover one of his, before Leyla leans in. Close without being inappropriately close, seeking comfort without demanding it. "I've love to have one right now so I could put a bullet in each of its joints until it told me what I wanted to hear. I hear they can't resurrect inside this radiation." As for the Areion, "Well, we haven't encountered every sort of cylon ship, not when the Gun has been used, so it would be improper to just assume that all ships would be equally effected. Also, I don't really know the range of the gun, but I do know that basestar jumped out, though I couldn't tell you if it was before or after the gun discharged."

"I think if I were you, I'd be all sorts of confident. Because it's you and you are the unflappable, all-knowing badass of the Raptor groups. Even if you have your way about you around others that give certain impression, I know you care horribly and deeply about the people of this fleet." When she leans in, he does as well to place his forehead to her own. "You're a vibrant woman with tons of love to give. I would trust your eyes over a DRADIS any day. Even if you can only see part of the stars." Mark looks back to her eyes and smiles. "In time. We'll have another one and I'm sure we could arrange something fun like that." They're alone. He gives her a kiss that wants to linger but it doesn't, the man leaning back just a touch. "Nobody knows the range. But this is good information to work with. We can all get this settled and move on. I know we will. We've overcome far worse so far. I've got a few ideas how we might be able to kick it around or test its limits. Think you could get me a copy of that data download you all have been looking at?"

"I think I'd be scared as hell that something would get by me." Which is really the trouble. She's a damned raptor pilot, she's supposed to be the eyes and ears of the fleet, and this basestar is cramping her style. But the fact that Mark has confidence in her, well, it helps, likely more than she could say. or does, but he knows. Because he reads her like an open book. Scary and comforting all at the same time. But the look in her eyes that passes just briefly, as she considers what she would do to said cylon, well, better that doesn't linger anytime soon. The kiss is joined, held, with only a slight sound of protest as it breaks. "You know I'll do whatever I can to help you, and I'll try to corral as many people as you need, but I know Marko's ready to step in and get working with you. There has to be a solution to the problem, right?" A flash of a smile, at the request, and she frees one of her hands, pushing the box of drives, "These are they, and they're all for you."

"Nothing gets by you, Tahu. The Viper sticks might go up there and fire guns but you all are the fleets keepers. You protect the Vipers along with everyone else. We all believe in you." Mark winks at her. A hand lifts to cup her cheek. "Corral whomever you need to. You've got a good head on your shoulders. I'll talk to Marko, too. Its not going to hurt to have as many people talking about this as possible. The more heads you have coming at this, the better." He gently taps his thumb to the tip of her nose before he takes up her hands again. But when she motions the box, his eyes widen. "Holy hell. Are you kidding me? You're giving me the dump of information??" Christmas!! Playtime!!

"You did, for…quite a long while, actually." Of course, he was on another ship most of that time, and of course it has nothing at all to do with this situation. But if it helps her feel less helpless, well, allow her her indulgences. "We do the best we can with what we have to work with. We need you and Marko and the people who will be working on this to give us more of that. So if there's someone with a skillset you need, let me know. I'll find a way to get it cleared with Boots or Toast." Which is more about whomever has the ability to grant clearance, and not going over one head to get to another. Her hands, for the time being, are kept in his, at least until he's ready to get to work on his data, "That's everything I could scrounge together, from Warday on, that might be relevant to this. We review everything before we pass it on to Command, and…we've been known to keep copies when we need to." Whether or not they're supposed to keep copies is another story. "How can I ask you to solve a problem, if I'm not willing to give you every tool possible?"

"Ha! Okay, fair point." The man's eyes drift from the data and back to her own. "Its not a problem. It'll get done and appease a little of that anxiety. If I run into anything, I'll let you guys know but Marko should do well. As for keeping copies?" Mark grins. "I do it all the time. Important stuff? You need to. Its just prudent. Guidelines are there for a reason but we need all the smart ideas we can get. Looking at records and lists of what we have from the past is some of the best information tools available." The last from her gets a laugh. "Mmm. I'm not so sure you could possibly be in the military? Giving me everything I need? Geez."

"Doing it here in the sims might be useful, moreso than just because there wasn't a free space available that had screens large enough, we can feed the data through the sim so you can get a full view of the footage the way the raptor saw it when it was captured." one never knows when looking at something from a certain angle can help with visualizing a problem in your head, yeah? "Marko will let you know if any of the info you end up using was supposed to be classified or sensitive, that way we can get the go ahead from Boots to use it." A smile, in answer to his laughter, "Sometimes I'm just Leyla. And Just Leyla doesn't always agree with the military way of doing things. Not giving all the information or resources you can, is hamstringing someone before they even have a chance to leave the gate." A beat, "So I take it this means you'll take the job?"

"Hey, I'll take Just Leyla anytime. She's every bit the lovely lady I'm falling so horribly for. How dare you?" Mark slides a wink at her and moves to kiss her cheek before turning back to the data. "Hmm. Take the job? I think you could say I've got some interest. Alright, lets start by looking at these first encounters and go from there…" He searches through the data packets and picks out the right one.

OOC Note: Tahu is a Māori word which means, depending on the context and the person addressed: husband, spouse, partner, lover, beau, boyfriend, girlfriend, sweetheart.

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